Seeking Information on Social Commerce: An Examination of the Impact of User- and Marketer-generated Content Through an Eye-tracking Study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Following the growing popularity of social commerce sites, there is an increased interest in understanding how consumers decide what products to purchase based on the available information. Consumers nowadays are confronted with the task of assessing marketer-generated (MGC) as well as user-generated information (UGC) in a range of different forms to make informed purchase-related decisions. This study examines the information types and forms that influence consumers in their decision-making process on social commerce. Building on uses and gratifications and dual-process theories, we distinguish between marketer and user generated content, and differentiate formats into informational and normative. Using a mixed methods approach that builds on an eye-tracking study, followed by semi-structured interviews with 23 participants, our results indicate significant differences in the types and format of information consumed for selected versus eliminated products. Specifically, we looked at engagement, cognitive processing, and observation of consumers, since they reveal information about the mental and processing mechanisms during decision making. We find that consumers present a number of differences in terms of these measures among the different types of content, and with respect to selected versus eliminated products. The outcomes of the interviews also serve to complement these findings, providing more detailed information about the processes and emotional states of consumers during the selection process.